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Barracca Gardens, Valletta

The Barracca Gardens play host to many beautiful sights that attract those on Malta holidays. The Upper Barracca Garden occupies the elevated space on the ramparts of St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion, in the vicinity of the Auberge de Castille. Under the Order of St. John, the defence of this part of the fortifications was entrusted to the Knights of the Langue of Italy.

Barracca Gardens

The garden was laid down in the mid-17th century to provide a peaceful retreat for the pastime and relaxation of the Knights.

The arcaded verandah was constructed in 1661 to the order of Fra. Flaminio Balbiani, an Italian knight. A projecting balcony lends a splendid view of the Grand Harbour and of the three historical cities on the other side of the harbour. Up to 1775, the verandah was roofed over, but at the time of Grand Master Ximenes, the roof was removed when it was discovered that the place was being used by dissident knights to plot against the Order.

Barracca Gardens

Of special interest to Malta holiday-makers are the statues and monuments which adorn the garden, in particular the bronze group of Les Gavroches by Antonio Sciortino; the statue of Lord Strickland, a former Prime Minister of Malta, also by Sciortino; and the sepulchral monument of Governor Sir Thomas Maitland, known locally as King Tom, who died in Malta in 1816.

Barracca Gardens

Numerous marble plaques and memorials, commemorating local and foreign personalities, fill many a space on the walls and pilasters under the arcade. Malta holiday-makers will find the gardens an interesting place to visit if they want to learn about the history of Malta.

The Upper Barracca Garden, alive with flowers and exotic trees, is today the favourite haunt of numerous Maltese and Malta holiday visitors.

Barracca Gardens

The Lower Barracca Garden is perched on the three-cornered bastion near the Mediterranean Conference Centre. This garden is similar to the one on the Upper Barracca. Its high position, overlooking the harbour entrance, commands an extensive panoramic view of Fort Ricasoli, Bighi Palace, Fort St. Angelo, and the creeks of Birgu and Kalkara.

Among trees and flowerbeds in the centre of the garden stands the monument, in the form of a Greek Doric temple, to the memory of Sir Alexander John Ball. Sir Alexander was one of the leaders of the Maltese insurgents against the French in 1798. When the French troops surrendered, and the British annexed the Maltese Islands in 1800, Sir Alexander was nominated Commissioner and he later became the first British Governor of Malta. He died here in 1810.

The monument was erected soon after Sir Alexander's death. According to the inscription on the base, it was restored by public subscription in 1884.

The solid ramparts here fall sheer to the harbour waters beneath. A stone parapet and an iron railing around the edge provide ample room for Maltese and Malta holiday visitors to stand and admire the enchanting view.